When it comes to publicly traded engineering and construction companies, Fluor (NYSE:FLR) is pretty much the top of the mountain. It doesn't command every market niche, but it has sizable franchises in markets like electricity generation, transportation, industrial, and hazardous waste/environmental engineering. But the question now isn't whether Fluor is one of the best, but rather whether the market has already fully factored in its growth opportunities in the coming years.

Once again, current results were encouraging. Revenue was up 18% from last year, and operating results improved significantly, even when you add back a sizable charge in the year-ago period. Perhaps even more important to current investors, new awards increased 78% in the quarter, and the backlog rose a little more than 15%.

Over the next three or four years, I would expect to see a change in Fluor's business. The company is presently doing quite well for itself with oil/gas/chemical projects, but eventually that spending boom will end, as the ExxonMobils (NYSE:XOM) and BPs (NYSE:BP) of the world adjust to the capacity build-out that's underway.

But as oil/gas may slow, I'd expect power to begin taking off. I've already talked at length about the newly announced projects from TXU (NYSE:TXU) and NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG), but they look to be just the beginning. There are a lot of power plants in the planning/budgeting stage, not to mention ongoing demand for retrofits and upgrades to reduce the pollution emitted by existing plants. That's all good for a leading power-engineering firm like Fluor, though it will undoubtedly have to share the boom with the likes of Washington Group (NASDAQ:WGII), Shaw Group (NYSE:SGR), and Foster Wheeler.

Following the build-out of the power sector should be interesting. Utility customers (that's you and me, as well as businesses) won't like the higher rates that utilities will try to pass through to pay for the construction, but people won't be any happier with blackouts, either. Even though economic activity will almost certainly slow at some point, it's unlikely that it would seriously derail capacity expansion plans.

Figuring out fair valuations today strikes me as guesswork and voodoo masquerading as mathematics, particularly with so many projects anticipated but yet to be announced. And while I like Fluor just fine as a company, perhaps Shaw and Washington might be slightly better values at present.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).